This will possibly be considered a stupid question by some but being new
into the woodworking field and always receiving good advice from those with
more experience who have made me think of issues I haven't thought of, I
thought I would throw this one out.
I am building two benches in 6 foot sections to fit part of the back wall
of my garage along with a bench I already have at 4 feet in length. From one
end to the other is 16 feet. I am incorporating my radial arm saw and miter
saw into the benches, of course, all at equal benchtop height. I want to
make sure the saws are far enough from the ends as to not interfere with
longer boards, if/when the need arises as well as far enough from each
other, if that's necessary. Therefore, anyone have a suggestion(s) how far
apart the saws should be from each other as well as from the walls?
Damn fine question. I'll be very interested to see what answers come
forth. In the typical big shop I've always seen the cuttoff area along
the longest wall with lots of purposeful space off each end and the
saw centered in the long fenced table. You do get the odd 20+ footer
now and then and you'll want to break down to 10 or 12 feet long stock
now and again so a 16 foot wall causes some problems.
IF there is any way at eaither end to cheat the board through a window
or a door or a hole in then wall, then you should cheat the spacing of
the saw away from that end maybe 1/3 - 2/3 along the wall. I have seen
where the fence table was pulled out farther from the wall so the end
could be open to clear a machoine and allow longer stock when needed.
Another option would be to make it modular so you can center it for
most of the tiem and move it when you need a longer shot.
I think the saw just need to clear each other when operated.
If it were me, I'd probably position the saws next to each other in the
center of the available space. This is how I have two miter saws set
up, side by side.
By installing them so the back fences line up, with the tables at the
same level (one saw sits on spacers), as long as I remove the wood stops
so the back fences are not obstructed, I can cut anything that will fit
between the walls.
If the two saws are not going to be used simultaneously, then their
placement relative to each other isn't very critical as long as the
table heights and fence positions are compatible. I'd position them as
close together as possible without causing the structure of either saw
to interfere with operation of the other.
Position along the bench is a little more difficult to decide.
Assuming the walls are a limiting factor - no windows, doorways or
other openings aligned with the bench - I'd give serious thought to
the type of work that you will be doing and try to make a reasonable
estimate of the longest rip cuts you expect to make. Position the RAS
such that it's no closer to either wall than that dimension plus
whatever clearance is comfortable for you. Likewise, try to estimate
what the longest workpiece and/or offcuts you're likely to have to
accommodate with crosscuts on either saw and position the saws
laterally so they will accommodate those lengths. A location near the
center will probably, repeat probably, give you the most flexibility
for crosscuts and will maximize the length of rip cuts that you can
I can almost guarantee that whatever lateral location you choose,
eventually you're going to run into a case where you simply cannot put
the cutline under the blade without punching a hole through the wall.
Have a couple of sawhorses and a circular saw or handsaw available to
handle it when that happens.
Thank you all for the suggestions.
I decided to use the center idea and space the saws 2 feet apart. Therefore,
each will be 9 feet and 7 feet from the blade to each side walls. Since I
"rarely" cut anything longer than 8 feet, other than a 2" x 12" x 18' for
the side of my decking when I increased the size, I thought the 9 and 7 feet
would be appropriate distances. Anything longer on those rare occassions can
result in me using my circular saw and saw horses.
The suggestions always make me observe other options.
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